L.A. SOUNDS 1965 – 1969: REVIEWS

THE EPICENTRE OF JANGLE - 12 STRING JANGLERS, FUZZ AND FARFISA COMBOS, PROTEST SINGERS AND FOLK ROCKERS.

 

THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR – ’I Fought The Law’/’Little Annie Lou’ (Mustang 3014) Oct 1965

Bobby Fuller hailed from El Paso, Texas but sometime during 1964 made the decision to relocate to Hollywood to try for the big time in the music business. His band achieved some success before Bobby Fuller died in mysterious circumstances.

Fuller was found dead with a petrol soaked rag stuffed in his mouth in July 1966. The LAPD ruled his death as a suicide, citing ’no evidence of foul play’.

’I Fought The Law’ wasn’t an immediate hit but the record slowly crawled up the charts and became an all time classic. The clean cut Bobby Fuller who shunned the ’long hair’ of the beat and folk rock groups had the appeal of a young Elvis Presley and had such a great voice.

For readers who don’t know the music of The Bobby Fuller Four you just gotta seek out the music because it’s all highly rated and I would say exceptional 60s rock and roll.

THE FLOWER POT – ’Black Moto’/’Mr. Zig Zag Man’ (Vault V-935) 1967

Songwriter and session man on many L.A records, Mike Deasy cut loose on his own with two 45s billed as The Flower Pot on Vault Records. You’ll also find releases by Friar Tuck and The Ceyleib People with heavy Mike Deasy involvement including his usual array of session cohorts a.k.a ’The Wrecking Crew’.

The flip of the record ’Black Moto’ is an LSD infused eastern raga drone heavily influenced by the more psychedelic and experimental efforts by Donovan. Quite what it all means, I don’t know. I’ll leave it up to the listener.

’Mr Zig Zag Man’ is a pleasant psychedelic pop song.

THE W.C. FIELDS MEMORIAL ELECTRIC STRING BAND – ’I’m Not Your Stepping Stone’/’Round World’ (Mercury 72578) June 1966

I’ve given ’Flower Bomb Songs’ exposure to this group’s other releases in the past so check out the archives for more information. This was their debut 45 and is a rockin’ early version of ’Stepping Stone’ produced by the erstwhile Norm Ratner who’s name crops up on many Los Angeles recordings.

The flip ’Round World’ is a folk rock gem.

This release was a Billboard spotlight release in a June 1966 edition.

THE GREEN BEANS – ‘(Don’t Give Me No) Friction’/’Superstition’ (Mercury 72504) Oct 1965

Whenever my girlfriend asks me to help her with the housework this cool song by The Green Beans comes into my head. ‘(Don’t Give Me No) Friction’ was produced by Mike Curb and according to Davie Allan’s official website he confirms that he played session guitar on both Green Beans 45s.

’Friction’ was famously covered by Australian cavemen The Missing Links.

The Green Beans released a follow up on Tower Records ’Who Needs You’/’Knock On My Door (Tap On My Window)’ and some copies came housed in a picture sleeve showing this outfit looking like 50s throwbacks with dodgy green rocker hair.

CARETAKERS OF DECEPTION – ’Cuttin’ Grass’/’X+Y=13’ (Sanctus SS-12) 1967

First of all, what a fucking GREAT name for a group!!! So it’s fingers crossed that such a fantastically named combo had the sound to match and I’m pleased to say that our forgotten heroes certainly had that.

The Caretakers Of Deception are believed to come from the Los Angeles area (at least the record label Sanctus guides me to L.A.) ’Cuttin’ Grass’ is an awesome garage hymn with manic surging hallucinogenic organ, primitive guitar and pissed off vocals. These opening lines are spat out by the vexed singer:

”It’s hard enough for me to see
When you’ve taken my eyes from me.
Thrown them in the filth on the street
You crush them on the floor”

The flip and cryptically named ’X+Y=13’ calms things down slightly but it’s still edgy 12 string folk garage of the highest order with lavish farfisa moodiness. I feel honoured to be able to listen to this greatness albeit via my bootleg from the ’garage greats’ 45 series.

THE HARD TIMES – ’Fortune Teller’/’Goodbye’ (World Pacific 77851) Nov 1966

Originally from San Diego, The Hard Times relocated in ’66 to Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills and took up residence in a house owned by Denny Doherty from The Mamas and the Papas.
They quickly established themselves on the Sunset Strip getting regular gigs at The Sea Witch eventually becoming the house band at The Whisky A Go-Go then at The Cinnamon Cinder.

The Hard times were also regulars on TV Show ’Where The Action Is’ and there is currently a lip synched performance of ’Fortune Teller’ from that show on You Tube as we speak.
’Fortune Teller’ reached the Top 100 in the Billboard chart at the end of December 1966 but no further success followed despite a well received studio album in ’67.

THE DOORS – ’Light My Fire’/’The Crystal Ship’ (Elektra EK-45615) May 1967

Being led by someone as mysterious and enigmatic as lead singer and front man Jim Morrison meant that The Doors could never fail. ’Light My Fire’ sold in millions making them a household name but were they any better as a unit than many of the other groups I’ve featured so far in this Los Angeles mix. The answer is no of course, The Doors were lucky to have Jim Morrison, he made the difference it’s as simple as that.

The flip ’The Crystal Ship’ has always had the knack to cast my mind adrift mainly because of the opening lyrics that set the tone for this strange and beguiling tune. ’The Crystal Ship’ would be perfect for a funeral.

”Before you slip into unconsciousness
I’d like to have another kiss
Another flashing chance at bliss
Another kiss, another kiss”

THE LEAVES – ’Hey Joe’/’Girl From The East’ (Mira Records 222) May 1966

Los Angeles group The Leaves hit the big time with their version of ’Hey Joe’ which they recorded three times, each one distinctly different from the other – the promo single, the stock single and the Mira 222 release (also the same version on their hastily released studio album).

The first version was cut as far back as November 1965 but for me it’s their 3rd attempt complete with a wild Bobby Arlin fuzztoned guitar break that is the winner. The flip is ’Girl From The East’, a pleasant folk rock ballad written by Hollywood face Bobby Jameson. He also cut his own ’Girl From The East’ and this choice original can be found on the Chris Lucey a.k.a Bobby Jameson album ’Songs Of Protest And Anti Protest’.

THE PALACE GUARD – ’All Night Long’/’Playgirl’ (Orange Empire Records OE-331) Aug 1965

Now for my favourite musical genre (ie) folk rock/12 string janglers and none better than this gem by The Palace Guard who mixed merseybeat with folk rock to rather great effect on ’All Night Long’ and achieved a deserved local hit in Los Angeles but remained unknown beyond southern California.

They were a big attraction in L.A, becoming the house band at the Hullabaloo Club in Hollywood despite wearing ridiculous Buckingham Palace style guard uniforms.

SOMEBODY’S CHYLDREN – ’I’m Going Back To New York City’/’Shadows’ (Uptown 727) April 1966

These teenagers from Los Angeles were originally known as The Offbeats and were led by whizz kid David Clark Allen. The band changed their name to the more happening Somebody’s Chyldren sometime in ’66 and released this fine 45 on Uptown.

’I’m Going Back To New York City’ is a powerful garage pop mover with some neat lead guitar, heavy bass and excellent production. The flip ’Shadows’ is a sweet psychedelic folk tune.

Somebody’s Chyldren had two songs, ’I’m Up’ and ’Marionettes’ on the ’Hellcats’ soundtrack released on Tower Records in 1967.

They were also Mae West’s backing band on her ’Way Out West’ LP. I’ve not heard the latter but I’ll be surprised if the resulting music is worthwhile.

Most of the members of Somebody’s Chyldren went on to form Marianne in the late 60s.

Somebody’s Chyldren were:

David Clark Allen
Dennis Trerotola
Paul Dobies
Ricky Cameron

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